80th General Hospital Unit History

Training in the Zone of Interior. Men take a break during one the hikes (of interest is the Hospital’s guidon at right).

Training in the Zone of Interior. Men take a break during one the hikes (of interest is the Hospital’s guidon at right).

Introduction & Activation:

The 80th General Hospital was officially activated 20 August 1942 at Camp White, Medford, Oregon (Division Camp; total acreage 49,638; troop capacity 1,884 Officers and 35,557 Enlisted Men –ed), with Captain Thomas R. Evans, Commanding.

On 27 September 1942, Lt. Colonel Emmett B. Litteral, MC, arrived and assumed command of the organization, with Captain Thomas R. Evans, now being appointed Executive Officer. Lt. Colonel E. B. Litteral was promoted to the rank of Colonel 27 April 1943, and would continue to command the Hospital until 4 September 1944, at which time he was placed on DS as Base Surgeon, Base B, APO # 503, Buna (Oro Bay), New Guinea. Upon his departure, Lt. Colonel Keith M. Clisby, MC assumed command of the 80th General.


The organization never functioned as an operational Hospital while stationed in the Zone of Interior. Since 18 June 1944, it would however start to function as a General Hospital, located on Lower West Cameron Plateau, Base A, APO # 928, Milne Bay, New Guinea, after having taken over the areas vacated 20 June 1944 by the 124th and 268th Station Hospitals. At that time Base A was under the command of Colonel August W. Spittler, MC, appointed in March of 1944.

Operations, Third Quarter 1944:

New Guinea
Throughout the major part of 1944, the Office of the Surgeon, USASOS was in Brisbane, Australia, but in September 1944, when the northward movement of Allied troops resulted in a shift of Services of Supply Headquarters, the Office moved by echelons to Hollandia, New Guinea, then in early 1945 to Leyte, and finally in March – April to Manila, in the Philippines. By September 1944, the major combat forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SPA) were the Sixth and Eighth United States Armies and the Fifteenth and Thirteenth Army Air Forces.
In the fall of 1944, Base B and the Intermediate Section Headquarters (established at Oro Bay), controlled all 7 New Guinea Bases, including the last one, Base H, set up on Biak Island (in February 1945, when SOS was building new bases in the Philippines, all seven New Guinea Bases were placed under control of the newly-established New Guinea Base Section, the successor to the Intermediate Section, with Headquarters located at Oro Bay –ed).

USASOS Bases – Southwest Pacific Area (New Guinea)
Base A > Milne Bay
Base B > Oro Bay
Base C > Good Enough Island
Base D > Port Moresby
Base E > Lae
Base F > Finschhafen
Base G > Hollandia
Base H > Biak Island

Commanding Officers – USASOS Bases – Southwest Pacific Area
Base A – Milne Bay > Lt. Colonel Lester E. Haentzchel, MC (appointed October 1944)
Base B – Oro Bay > Colonel Emmet B. Litteral, MC (appointed September 1944)
Base C – Good Enough Island > Major George C. Hendrickson, MC (appointed August 1944)
Base E – Lae > Lt. Colonel Hans W. Lawrence, MC (appointed September 1944)
Base F – Finschhhafen > Colonel Paul M. Ireland, MC (appointed October 1944)
Base G – Hollandia > Lt. Colonel Thomas W. Mattingly, MC (appointed July 1944)
Base H – Biak Island > Colonel August W. Spittler, MC (appointed August 1944)

In the Southwest Pacific Area, before and after the development of large Bases in New Guinea, 4 affiliated General Hospitals operated in Australia; they included the 4th General Hospital at Melbourne (affiliated with Western Reserve Hospital , Cleveland, Ohio, activated 13 January 1942, embarked for Australia 23 January 1942 –ed); the 105th General Hospital at Gatton (affiliated with Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, activated 20 April 1942, embarked for Australia, 19 May 1942 –ed); the 118th General Hospital at Sydney (affiliated with John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, activated 21 April 1942, embarked for Australia 19 May 1942 –ed); and the 142d General Hospital at Brisbane (affiliated with University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, activated 20 April 1942, embarked for New Zealand 26 May 1942). Four (4) other General Hospitals, all affiliated units, were assigned to the Theater later on. They were the 9th General Hospital (affiliated with Society of the New York Hospital, New York, New York, activated 15 July 1942, embarked for Guadalcanal 31 July 1943 –ed), which after a short stay at Brisbane, eventually set up on Goodenough Island, near Milne Bay, New Guinea; the 13th General Hospital (affiliated with Presbyterian Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, activated 15 January 1943, embarked for New Guinea 5 January 1944 –ed) established at Finschhafen; the 44th General Hospital (affiliated with University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, activated 15 January 1943, embarked for Australia 25 September 1943 –ed), initially established near Townsville, before moving on to a new site; and the 47th General Hospital (affiliated with The College of Medical Evangelists, Loma Linda, California, activated 10 June 1943, embarked for New Guinea 11 January 1944 –ed), established at Milne Bay, where it arrived as Base A began to close down.

Portrait of Colonel William A. Hagins, MC, Sixth United States Army Surgeon (replaced Colonel John Dibble, MC, who died in a plane crash 7 February 1943).

Portrait of Colonel William A. Hagins, MC, Sixth United States Army Surgeon (replaced Colonel John Dibble, MC, who died in a plane crash 7 February 1943).

Between the period from 1 July 1944 through 30 September 1944, the 80th Gen Hosp served under control of the Chief Surgeon, Headquarters, United States Army Services of Supply, APO # 928.
Owing to the new surroundings, the incessant rain and humidity, and the numerous difficulties encountered in the unit’s first attempt at functional operation, the command, at the beginning, remained somewhat unsettled. These conditions, however, improved considerably as the men adjusted themselves to their newly assigned duties. It had been necessary from time to time to replace some personnel who had either proved inefficient or incapable, or who themselves had requested release and reassignment.

A refresher basic training program was begun 22 August 1944, which included a 3-weekly close order drill, instructions in Interior Guard duty, Military Courtesy, Discipline, lectures on Malaria Control, overall Hygiene, Sanitation and Medical Aid. Ambulance loading and unloading and litter drill were also reviewed. The guards received time to familiarize with their weapons and were given target practice on the nearby range. Additional instructions were given in military funeral procedures. In the meantime, decided improvements were made to the hospital area. Tents housing the Enlisted Men were all floored, waterproofed, and supplied with electricity. Company streets were graveled, ditched, and drained, and fire and trash barrels and buckets were placed throughout the entire area. A thatched building erected by native labor was to be used as a chapel, and prefab materials supplied out of Australia, were used for a recreation hall. Another thatched building was eventually constructed for the ARC personnel with some 3900 square feet of floor space reserved for recreation. This building also contained a library, a radio, a phonograph, a piano, different games, a snack bar, with the necessary tables and chairs, and a divan, and remained open to patients from 1000 to 2030 hours every day.

Athletic activities were encouraged, with basketball, volleyball, and horseshoe courts currently under construction, later followed by a softball diamond and a boxing ring.

During a special ceremony held on 28 August 1944, a large number of Good Conduct Ribbons were awarded to the Enlisted personnel.

Sanitation always suffered some problems, and was constantly hampered by the lack of manpower, the severe weather conditions, and the unavailability of supplies. Despite these difficulties, many improvements were successfully made, with the attention being centered mainly on mess halls and kitchens. Since the water supply often failed, chlorinated drinking water was made available in Lister bags to avoid bacterial contamination; adequate shower and washing facilities were made available to the command.
It was feared that owing to the continued lack of supplies such as cement, lumber, nails, fly spray, and paint, unsanitary conditions would continue to exist for a certain period.

Food and special diets represented a difficult task. Although of sufficient quantity, there was a lack of fruits and fresh vegetables, as refrigeration caused problems and loss of perishable foods. A total of 13 kerosene-operated refrigerators were distributed throughout the wards and other Hospital departments. Preparation of dehydrated foods steadily improved (this was new to the cooks), but, despite the many problems, the organization’s Mess Department succeeded in a period of three months to serve 140,490 meals to patients, in addition to those prepared for staff and personnel of the command.

Thanks to the gradual receipt of additional supplies, numerous improvements were made to the buildings and grounds in the Hospital’s area. More sections were added including the construction of new buildings, the addition of cement floors, and the installation of parking lots, roadways, grease pits, and 1500-gallon gas tanks. Later, two 3000-gallon water storage tanks were added to the area.
In conjunction with a Company of Engineers, the personnel of the General Supply and Utilities Departments constructed an incinerator, and built extensions to the Laboratory, the Headquarters, set up one extra Ward, and enlarged the X-Ray Service buildings. The entire water pipes and electric wiring system were either repaired or replaced. Since sheet metal, engines, and tools were easily susceptible to rust forming in the damp climate, they were kept clean and well oiled at all times. Clothing, blankets, and canvas were kept in well-ventilated buildings. Notwithstanding all the efforts, moisture and humidity resulted in cardboard containers of plaster or stone solidifying and becoming a total loss.

Two (2) days before official opening, the Registrar Office, Admission and Disposition, as well as the Detachment of Patients were already in operation, because of the transfer of patients from the organizations relieved by the command (124th + 268th Station Hospitals –ed). With the influx of patients, the consequent burden and confusion necessitated 36 hours of continuous work, with some members working 48 hours without rest! Within short, the chief problem centered around Disposition and Evacuation. One way to cope with this was to introduce alternative flexible procedures which allowed to absorb the continuous admission of patients, the arrival of individual belongings and valuables, the conversion of foreign currency, and the completion of the required paperwork. Administration was rendered complex by the fact that most incoming patients arrived without personal records, and in order to handle this more effectively, the Registrar Officer devised check sheets to procure, forward, and keep record of all personal files of patients. The above included payrolls which had to be settled for all patients before evacuation. Patients’ clothing and individual belongings and baggage had to be recorded, supervised, and returned in due time before disposition.

During the period July 1944 – September 1944, 780 medical patients, 559 surgical patients, and 514 neuro-psychiatric patients were admitted to the 80th General Hospital.

The Information and Education Division was set up 24 June 1944 and stimulated interest in the war’s progress by distributing news bulletins and detailed maps. The Special Service Department arranged for movies, special stage performances, and athletic and recreational equipment, prepared daily broadcasts, and provided a well-stocked library, and occasional lectures for both personnel and patients.

Despite the fact that at times, there was a pressing need for certain types of unobtainable supplies, either by substitution or through improvisation of the Medical Supply Officers, each emergency was deftly handled. Dampness, as already reported, caused deterioration of drugs and other items; nevertheless the percentage of non-serviceability of supplies, including drugs, remained minimal. Owing to difficulties in obtaining some specific supplies and reagents, some tests of the Laboratory Department were routine, with special required tests being performed by a neighboring medical organization’s lab. Nevertheless, the total number of tests performed by the Laboratory between July and September 1944, reached 10,024.

The X-Ray facilities were expanded and required a new building which was constructed by Base A Engineers and proved highly satisfactory. There were problems with the 5 Picker X-Ray field units which affected the quality of films. Moreover, during the rainy season, films readily became covered with mildew, and needed to be stored in a wooden box lined with waterproof paper. It was recommended that in hot weather a fan would be installed to blow over these boxes.
Between July and September 1944, the X-Ray Department conducted 795 examinations and ordinary roentgenographic surveys.

In the three-month period, July – August – September 1944, 607 patients, distributed over 8 Wards were received in the Medical Service; of these 102 were discharged to duty, 289 evacuated to the Zone of Interior, and 66 transferred to the command’s Surgical Service, or to other Hospitals. The census included 150 patients in the N-P Section of the 80th, which was part of the Medical Service.
Quite a number of patients suffered from Scrub Typhus, Malaria, Jaundice, and many types of skin diseases and infections.

During the month of July 1944, the Nursing Service went through its first period of organization. As the ANC Officers had never worked together as a unit, all assignments were made on a temporary basis until individual capabilities could be determined through observation. Very few Nurses were trained in Neuro-Psychiatry, Dermatology, and Tropical Disease to cover the Hospital’s nursing requirements. Seven (7) Nurses were eventually sent to attend the Base A Malaria School. With the object to enlarge the nursing personnel, a well-qualified ANC Officer with civilian teaching experience was assigned to carry out a special training program for Medical Department Enlisted Men.

Map illustrating the different Bases in New Guinea, with Headquarters established at Oro Bay (Base B). Colonel Emmett B. Litteral, MC, (CO, 80th Gen Hosp) was appointed Base B Commanding Officer from 4 September 1944 to 1 January 1945, after which he returned to his previous unit, reassuming command of the Hospital. He was succeeded by Colonel V. L. Bolton, MC, as Commanding Officer of Base B. The 80th General Hospital was located at Base A, Milne Bay, New Guinea.

Map illustrating the different Bases in New Guinea, with Headquarters established at Oro Bay (Base B). Colonel Emmett B. Litteral, MC, (CO, 80th Gen Hosp) was appointed Base B Commanding Officer from 4 September 1944 to 1 January 1945, after which he returned to his previous unit, reassuming command of the Hospital. He was succeeded by Colonel V. L. Bolton, MC, as Commanding Officer of Base B. The 80th General Hospital was located at Base A, Milne Bay, New Guinea.

Operations, Fourth Quarter 1944:

New Guinea
During the Quarter ending 31 December 1944, the organization continued to function in an operational capacity at Lower West Cameron Plateau, Base A, Milne Bay, New Guinea, under the command of Lt. Colonel K. M. Clisby, MC.
Per authority contained in General Orders No. 210, Headquarters, USASOS, Office of the Commanding General, APO # 707, dated 6 October 1944, the 80th General Hospital was reorganized without change in assignment or attachment, effective 15 October 1944, in accordance with T/O 8-550 dated 3 July 1944 and Change C-1 dated 9 August 1944. As a result of the above, the organization absorbed the personnel of the 83d Station Hospital which was staging at Base A, together with the personnel of the 141st Station Hospital, the latter being in operation at Base H (Biak Island). In accordance with the T/O the bed capacity was increased to 1500; expandable to 2000.

Some Statistics – 80th General Hospital
October 1944 > 102,516 Meals Served
November 1944 > 82,875 Meals Served
December 1944 > 33,822 Meals Served

Effective 20 November 1944, the Hospital was relieved from duty under assignment of USASOS, and attached to Sixth United States Army, per authority contained in Letter, Headquarters, USASOS, Office of the Commanding General, dated 21 October 1944.
The 80th General Hospital ceased to function as of 1200 hours, 31 December 1944, and assumed a staging capacity at the present location. The majority of the patients were evacuated to the Zone of Interior on 31 December, and all remaining sick and wounded transferred to the 47th General Hospital, or returned to duty.

Patient Census – 80th General Hospital
End September 1944 > 371 Patients
Mid October 1944 > 1,154 Patients
End October 1944 > 1,122 Patients
Mid November 1944 > 828 Patients
End November 1944 > 905 Patients
Mid December 1944 > 358 Patients

During the period October 1944 – December 1944, 839 admissions were noted. The different categories included:

  • 441 Patients sent to the Neuro-Psychiatry Section
  • 176 Patients sent to the General Medicine Section
  • 124 Patients sent to the Gastro-Enterology Section
  • 66 Patients sent to the Cardio-Vascular Section
  • 32 Patients sent to the Tropical and Communicable Disease Sections

Medical Service: following admission, treatment, and evacuation; 325 patients were returned to duty, 551 were evacuated to the United States, 26 were transferred to the Surgical Service, and 194 remained as patients in the Medical Service.
During October 1944, and as a result of the closing of other Hospitals in the New Guinea Bases, the Hospital’s census rose dramatically to over 700 patients, necessitating the setting up of 16 ward tents, to supplement the 18 wards available to the Medical Service.
During the last Quarter, there were 1017 admissions to the Surgical Service, bringing to total number of patients to 1,125. Moreover, 452 consultations were held and 390 outpatients treated. The Surgical Service performed 78 major and 150 minor operations during that same period. It must be noted that during the last three months of 1944, the Surgical Service received the opportunity to actively participate in the care of casualties from the forward echelons, and until 20 November 1944, at which time the 80th General Hospital was transferred to the Sixth United States Army, to serve as a Station Hospital for Base A, Milne Bay.

The Surgical Service went through expansions, initially consisting of 10 wards, but following the large influx of patients in October 1944, to a bed-capacity of 555, barely covering the high census of 507 patients received on 27 October. As the number of admissions dropped in December 1944, the extra ward tents were taken down, and all patients were now consolidated in only 6 wards, with 90% of them awaiting evacuation to the Zone of Interior.

In general, the Nurses received more training with special emphasis being placed on matters concerning N-P patients, as well as ward management and supervision. Several of the ANC Officers were evacuated to the ZI, and in December 25% of all the Nurses coming overseas with the organization, had already been evacuated for various reasons.
Under the supervision of a Charge Nurse, 54 EM were given technical instructions in various medical subjects, which each of the men completing 15 classes of one hour each; dealing with subjects peculiar to the Medical Department.

Portrait of Brigadier General Guy B. Denit, MC, Chief Surgeon, US Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), and Surgeon US Army Services of Supply (USASOS), appointed January 1944.

Portrait of Brigadier General Guy B. Denit, MC, Chief Surgeon, US Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), and Surgeon US Army Services of Supply (USASOS), appointed January 1944.

The organization’s Laboratory conducted a large number of tests, culminating in October 1944. The total number of tests performed reached 11,988. Some of the much needed items continued to be hard to obtain.
The X-Ray Service continued to operate its five Picker field units, conducting 1,057 examinations during the last quarter of 1944.
The load of the Dental Service greatly increased due to the closing of various Base A Dispensaries and many of the operating Hospitals units going into a staging status in line with expected planning involving the Philippine Islands. A dental survey of the command was conducted, many outpatients were received, and because of the increase in patients, three new dental chairs were installed, bringing the total number of chairs to 8.

During the period the Dispensary increased its activities as an Outpatient Clinic. Minor surgery cases were on the increase and a total of 747 outpatients received 2,301 treatments at sick call. A total of 173 male Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Men were treated during the same period. With the change of temperature, there was a marked increase of heat exhaustion cases accompanied by severe headaches. Dermatitis cases continued to account for the greater part of sick call sessions, including personnel of the command. Neurotic patients were on the increase, and of 25 EM evacuated to the 47th General Hospital to be boarded, 10 were N-P cases.

For Thanksgiving, individual menus (including special diets) were made for each patient and the ARC personnel decorated the Mess Hall accordingly. An excellent contribution from the Quartermaster made possible a fine traditional Thanksgiving meal, which was enjoyed by all. The forthcoming Christmas dinner followed much the same plan as the Thanksgiving treat and was highly appreciated by all the patients.

One of the more serious problems confronting the Medical and Surgical Services was the delay in evacuation to the ZI of patients, thus affecting efficient operation of the Hospital. The prolonged stay of some of these patients gave other wounded making partial recovery and who were almost fit for duty a feeling of injustice. They were in constant association with “boarded” patients who in general appeared quite fit to the casual observer. Weekly evacuations were therefore preferred but could not be implemented, and because of this situation many hospital beds could not be released for new patients. It was suggested to alternatively collect ambulatory evacuees in a camp separate from the main Hospital (this was however never done –ed).

A marked increase of incoming patients during October 1944 was due to evacuation from other Bases in New Guinea and the closing of Hospitals on Base A. Many patients furthermore came from the Hospital Ship USS Comfort which had evacuated from New Guinea Hospitals established in more forward areas. The closing of the 49th General Hospital and the 227th Station Hospital on Base A, brought the 80th’s census up to its highest point of 1944!
About 20 November 1944, the CO received orders to admit no more patients and discharges and evacuations soon brought the patient census to a new low figure. The staff and personnel started packing and crating, in preparation for closing the installations. Inasmuch as the Hospital still had patients to care for, only the excess items were packed and labeled. On 31 December 1944, all boarded patients were evacuated for return to the ZI, and remaining patients discharged to duty or transferred to the 47th General Hospital, allowing the 80th General Hospital to cease all operations.

Separate views of New Guinea Base installations. Headquarters. Top (A), Base A, Milne Bay, Headquarters building, 3 January 1944. Bottom (B), Base A, Milne Bay, Operations building, 5 October 1944.

Separate views of New Guinea Base installations. Top (A), Base A, Milne Bay, Headquarters building, 3 January 1944. Bottom (B), Base A, Milne Bay, Operations building, 5 October 1944.

Change of Station:

(the authors unfortunately lack vintage reports covering the period January 1945 – March 1945).

In spring of 1945, there were 3 major territorial commands operating under United States Forces, Southwest Pacific Area. They included the Australian Base Section (with Headquarters in Sydney, a mere skeleton organization in late June 1945 –ed), the New Guinea Base Section (partially dissolved August 1945, with only Bases remaining at Lae, Finschhafen, Hollandia and Biak –ed), and both the Luzon Base Section (established in February 1945), and the Philippine Base Section (established in April 1945).
During the period February 1945 – April 1945, Medical Department Officers assigned to the former Army Service Command were occupied in establishing medical service on Luzon Island, with concentration placed in the area of Greater Manila. During March, they evacuated 3,500 patients from Luzon by aircraft and Hospital Ship, and located buildings in Manila to house several US Hospitals and a Medical Supply Depot for the Base Sections and put these installations into operation. In April 1945, a total of 7 Dispensaries were functioning. Gradually, Manila would become the largest center of fixed Hospitals in the Southwest Pacific Area. The main reason being preparation for the receipt of thousands of patients from an invaded Japan…

The Hospital arrived in Manila, Capital City of the Philippines on 26 March 1945 for a change of station and with instructions to first augment the staff of the 227th Station Hospital and later relieve this medical organization by taking over the complete hospital plant and installations at the Quezon Institute in Manila.
During the Second Quarter of 1945, the 80th General Hospital, once more commanded by Colonel Emmett B. Litteral, MC, (returned to assume command 1 January 1945 –ed) was located at the Manuel L. Quezon Institute, Quezon City, Manila, P.I., APO # 1010. This Institution, formerly a Tuberculosis Sanitarium was used by the Japanese Occupation Forces as a military Hospital. Upon their departure they fired the buildings and stripped them of all electrical and sanitary fixtures which resulted in multiple and serious problems to solve related to sanitation and general maintenance.

In 1934, the then Senate President, Manuel L. Quezon, recognizing the severity of Tuberculosis as a serious public health threat, steered the passage of the Sweepstakes Law that allocated 25% of its proceeds to the Philippine Tuberculosis Society. Through this legislation the Manuel L. Quezon Institute, a tertiary Hospital was built.

On 1 April 1945, the organization relieved the 54th Evacuation Hospital and the 227th Station Hospital which were occupying the buildings and assumed the care of approximately 1,000 patients at that time. Throughout April and May, a large number of battle casualties were admitted directly from the field and received initial hospital treatment within a few hours after being injured. The average patient census during the Quarter numbered between 1,900 and 2,000.
Notwithstanding the large influx of patients, the construction of new facilities and the repair of the damaged rooms and fixtures was in continuous progress.

Personnel Strength – 80th General Hospital
Officers > 63
Nurses > 109
Physical Therapists > 3
Dietitians > 4
Warrant Officers > 1
Enlisted Men > 500

(very few important changes of personnel took place; Colonel Tyler J. Walker, DC, Chief of Dental Service was reassigned to Headquarters, Eighth US Army; 2 Officers and 5 EM were returned to the ZI under provisions of the ASR score; 5 Enlisted Men were returned to the US for discharge being over the 40-year age limit; 2 other Officers were medically boarded for return to the States; replacements came in from other Hospitals and Hospital Ship Platoons and were being utilized successfully while on temporary duty with the organization; nevertheless, a continuous shortage of Enlisted personnel hampered the efficient operation of the Hospital –ed).

Views of different hospital sites on Leyte, Philippine Islands, 8 December 1944.

Views of different hospital sites on Leyte, Philippine Islands, 8 December 1944.

Between 1 April 1945 through 30 June 1945, the 80th General Hospital functioned largely as an Evacuation Hospital, with emphasis on the rapid turnover of patients. On 3 April 1945, one wing of the Quezon Institute was taken over from the 54th Evacuation Hospital (arrived in Manila 9 February 1945 –ed) along with 300 patients, and on 9 April the remainder of the installation was absorbed from the 227th Station Hospital (arrived 25 February 1945 –ed) along with another 800 or more patients. From then on, approximately 1,000 patients were added each week so that eleven weeks later, the astonishing total of 11,000 patients had been registered for admission.
Slightly over 2,000 beds were set up in the first two weeks of operation. The larger number of patients cleared (never before experienced by the Hospital –ed) necessitated rapid and efficient Admission and Disposition, thus requiring a system of patient administration which would not operate in any way unduly to delay the rapid passage of patients through the Hospital. This required additional personnel to the various staffs of all the unit’s offices and a drastic streamlining of methods of administering the patients’ records. Thirty (30) days was still the outer limit of hospitalization with rapid disposition a prime function. Direct evacuation to the ZI began to function on a small scale; most patients, however, continued to be evacuated to other Bases on Leyte or in New Guinea for prolonged hospitalization or further evacuation from the Theater. Patients requiring more than 10 days but less than 30 days care before returning to duty were generally transferred to the 21st Evacuation Hospital, thereby easing the patient load of the Hospital. Station Hospital duties were considerable at that time with dozens of American units being served by the 80th’s Dispensary and Clinics. Air and water evacuation to other Bases mostly proceeded on schedule and patients expeditiously handled enroute, often in the face of poor messing and housing at the various Holding Points.
As a consequence of the high workload, it was only with the addition of civilian personnel that the increased volume of work could be handled effectively. Therefore a Civilian Personnel Section was already organized and set up on 1 April 1945 with the direct mission of selecting and supplying civilian labor competent to fill in various jobs at the Hospital. When the 54th Evac and the 227th Sta Hosp were relieved by the 80th, a total of 13 monthly salaried Filipino employees and 91 daily wage earners were available (both common and skilled personnel was hired –ed). Taking into account the bad condition of the buildings and the gigantic task that lay ahead, the total strength would soon reach a high of 171 monthly salaried personnel and 744 daily workers. On 10 April 1945, a special Filipino Mess was set up where all daily wage earners received two meals a day; 2 cooks and 5 assistant cooks were constantly serving meals at 1130 – 1700 –and 2300 hours every day. Sanitation was eventually taken over by the 712th Medical Sanitary Company consisting of 160 men. It was later experienced that during the rainy season a crew of 65 janitors was necessary to clean the corridors, which kept them busy 8 hours per day.

All patients entering the Hospital at the Quezon Institute, except those classified as “other than US Army”, were attached unassigned to the Detachment of Patients. This gave the daily Morning Reports Section quite a heavy share in the work of patients’ personal administration. Payrolls, individual records, personal belongings, safekeeping of patients’ money and valuables, and the shipping of baggage from evacuees and the equipping and clothing of such patients prior to evacuation had to be dealt with. Another problem that had to be taken into account was the Medical Property Exchange, including such precious items as litters and blankets, which were almost never returned or compensated.

Before the end of the Second Quarter, all ANC Officers in the grade of Second Lieutenant were promoted.

During its stay at the Quezon Institute, the 80th General was designated to become the receiving Hospital for ALL Officer patients in the greater Manila area, with approximately 298 Officers out of 647 remaining as patients of the organization on 25 June 1945.
All patients received by the organization came from both combat and service units located near Manila, although many sick and wounded were coming in from all of Luzon. The majority were acutely ill and classified into 6 general groups:

  • Hepatitis: over 1,000 patients received in a period of three months, since most of these required a long convalescence of 6 to 8 weeks, about 85% were evacuated to other Bases in the Philippines.
  • Malaria: over 500 diagnoses made over the three-month period, average period of hospitalization required was 7 days, Atabrine treatment was quite effective, and an adequate mosquito control was indicated.
  • Gastro-Enteritis and Dysentery: 700 patients admitted during the above three-month period, with close to 300 patients recovering in 72 hours, emetine and sulfonamide therapy were recommended, need for rigid sanitary supervision required.
  • Respiratory Diseases: approximately 600 patients admitted with upper respiratory infections and fever during the three months period, with an increase during the rainy season, excellent results obtained with combined penicillin and sulfadiazine treatment.
  • Dermatology: over 600 patients admitted during the same three-month period, with over one half returned to duty, also an increased incidence of patients with severe urticaria was observed, chronic cases evacuated to other Bases for disposition, good response thanks to systemic penicillin therapy.
  • Communicable Diseases: the 80th Gen Hosp was designated the “Isolation Center” for Base X and received 320 patients over a period of three months, suffering from polio, diphtheria, pulmonary tuberculosis, meningitis, typhoid fever, and mumps, 17 deaths were registered, isolation, and strict use of sterilizing equipment for disinfection of contaminated bedding, linen, and clothing was provided, and adequate sanitary facilities and measures enforced.

Many of the ongoing problems were to be ironed out before mid-1945, and from the semi-chaotic situation at the official opening, a smoothly operating organization was to emerge.
In order to supplement the strength of the command (high patient census), the following named units were attached for duty and performed invaluable services in helping achieve and maintain high standards of operation:

  • 712th Medical Sanitary Company
  • 165th Quartermaster Laundry Platoon
  • Army Postal Unit (APO # 1010)
  • Company B, 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment Guerrilla Unit (USAFFE)

On 1 May 1945, Company B, 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment Guerilla Unit, became attached to the 80th General for guard duty and since then were efficiently patrolling the Hospital and guarding this Government property.

As reported earlier, many repairs and improvements of the buildings were under way as well as to the expanded wards and quarters. Concrete floors were poured for 148 EM pyramidal tents. Bamboo frames were constructed and more pyramidal tents pitched over them. For enhanced protection all tents were sprayed to prevent leakage. Electric lights were further installed in all tents, fire barrels were provided, one for every five tents, throughout the area, and the grounds around them adequately ditched and drained. More construction took place, including 2 extra enclosed latrines and 10 shower rooms, three five-holed, metal lined latrine boxes with flushing units attached were built in each latrine.
Sanitation was the major problem to be solved. Before leaving, the Japanese with the help of some groups of Filipinos left the buildings and the surrounding grounds in the worst possible condition. Piles of fecal matter were found in practically every room, the water supply and piping were almost totally destroyed, the sewage system was filled to the brim, all types of trash, debris, garbage, waste food, were left in the wards and rooms, and 85% of all the utility fixtures had been either removed, stopped up, broken, or made unusable! The second floor of the main building, destroyed by friendly fire and enemy artillery was in a very bad state, allowing the rain to enter the building. Enormous quantities of DDT were necessary to kill the mosquitoes and flies. The gigantic task of cleaning and repairing in order to restore normal sanitary conditions could not be handled by the command alone. Most credit went to the 712th Medical Sanitary Company for their hard labor in draining ditches, forming policing details, cleaning and evacuating the debris, incinerating garbage and trash, and trucking water for drinking, but also to the 700 odd Filipino laborers who were involved in keeping up this enormous task.

American casualty being loaded aboard a transport vessel in Leyte harbor, 20 October 1944.

American casualty being loaded aboard a transport vessel in Leyte harbor, 20 October 1944.

The Quezon Institute had a 1,500-bed capacity before the war and was always full as the TB rate was very high. After the war, and with the assistance of the US Army’s Medical Department, the lowest reported TB death rate for Manila decreased to 80 per week, with the highest number reaching 200. After the fall of the Philippines, the Japanese occupied the Quezon Institute and ordered the transfer of the medical staff and all patients to the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Intramuros Manila. They confiscated all the equipment and took over the buildings for use as a military Hospital.
After the Philippine Government was re-established in 1945, President Sergio Osmeña pressed for a new legislation to appropriate Pesos 1 Million to reactivate the struggle against TB. The US Army returned the buildings with equipment and supplies to the Filipino Government around November 1945.

To keep the personnel busy, and continue to improve overall efficiency of the organization, a training program was instituted, starting 27 May 1945. A minimum of three hours a week was scheduled and the following subjects presented: Chemical Warfare, Sex Hygiene, War Information, Interior Guard; Military Courtesy and Discipline, Military Censorship, Personnel Readjustment and Redeployment, and Unit Defense Plan.

During the three-month period the volume of work necessitated a tremendous expansion in size and functions of the 80th General, also influencing the operation of the Outpatient Clinic and the Dispensary. In addition to the daily Sick Call services for the own command, the facilities serviced 15 other units in the Greater Manila area, which had no assigned Medical Officer. The presence of a large number of civilian employees in the Hospital made it necessary to establish a separate civilian Aid Station with Filipino male and female Medical Technicians. A Prophylactic Station was also open 24 hours a day at the Dispensary.

USASOS Bases – Southwest Pacific Area (Philippine Islands)
Base K > Tacloban (Leyte)
Base M > San Fernando (Luzon)
Base R > Batangas (Luzon)
Base S > Cebu City (Cebu)
Base X > Manila (Luzon)

Commanding Officers – USASOS Bases – Southwest Pacific Area (Philippine Islands)
Base K – Tacloban > Lt. Colonel Paul O. Wells, MC (appointed September 1944)
Base M – San Fabian, then San Fernando > Colonel Everett G. King, MC (appointed November 1944)
Base R – Batangas > Lt. Colonel Raymond A. Fleetwood, MC (appointed February 1945)
Base S – Cebu City > Lt. Colonel Joseph M. Stein, MC (appointed April 1945)
Base X – Manila > Colonel Everett G. King, MC (appointed April 1945)

Messing Services
Within 12 hours following notification of relieving the current Hospitals leaving the Quezon Institute, the personnel of the 80th General Hospital had selected a temporary kitchen site, uncrated the necessary equipment and utensils, cleaned and installed everything, and started serving the first meals. The building housing the central kitchen had been severely damaged and vandalized. The main kitchen and adjoining rooms had been gutted by fire and all the stationary fixtures smashed or damaged beyond repair. On 10 April 1945, already 1,100 meals were served. Meanwhile renovation continued, tables were constructed, a new concrete floor laid, sinks installed and plumbing connected, tiles replaced and the entire kitchen complex painted white. Insect proof screens were built and fitted to doors and windows. A diet kitchen, butcher shop, bakery shop, bread and pastry room, and a can-opening room were soon ready for operation. A shower for duty personnel was constructed and latrines installed.
Separate dining rooms for ambulatory Officers and Enlisted patients were soon ready, and plans were made for an Officer Patients Mess as well. Food for bed patients was served in the wards in pre-heated carts one hour before the other patients were served. Special diets accounted for 25% to 30% of the total meals served. The increase of fresh foods issued offered a pleasing variety to all, and the weekly issue of ice cream contributed to the overall morale. Thanks to the cooks’ skills, the food served always seemed to appeal to the patients.

Partial view of the 116th Station Hospital, somewhere on Leyte, Philippine Islands, 17 December 1944.

Partial view of the 116th Station Hospital, somewhere on Leyte, Philippine Islands, 17 December 1944.

Some Statistics – 80th General Hospital
April 1945 > 118,917 Meals Served
May 1945 > 173,619 Meals Served
June 1945 > 168,999 Meals Served

Upon the arrival of the organization in Manila, P.I., the Department’s immediate responsibility was to supervise unloading of the unit’s supplies and equipment. This was accomplished successfully and with little trouble except for an outbreak of pilferage. After the different ships were unloaded, a complete inventory was taken to determine any losses incurred enroute.
Following its installation in the Quezon Institute buildings, the Hospital operated under the provisions of T/O & E 8-550 dated 3 July 1944. The Table of Equipment did however not make allowances for certain items needed in the operation of the various Departments of the organization, and instructions were given to try and obtain non-portable typewriters and carpenter tool kits.
Salvaged clothing was replaced twice a month to insure that it was serviceable at all time. Shoes were inspected weekly and accepted for either repair or salvage every Monday of the week.
The entire Supply Department, including office, issue room, linen exchange room, repair room, and maintenance and general storage, was housed in the basement of the main Hospital building where facilities were excellent. After uncrating and inventory 64 vouchers were processed (including 25 credit vouchers for property shipped or surveyed, and 39 vouchers for property received –ed). A final Report of Survey for property lost in transit and worth US$ 1,328.98 was submitted. In total, 99 requisitions were submitted to the 49th Medical Depot at Base X. Expendable supplies were issued two times per week, linen exchange was made twice weekly, and laundry was handled by a private Filipino concern under United States Army contract. As far as medical supplies were concerned, heavy demands on certain expendable supplies and on such emergency items as whole blood, penicillin, special drugs, and even plaster-of-Paris, caused timely shortages, and often called for requisition of items in excess of T/E authorization. The vast need for specific medical items was caused by the rapid turnover of patients resulting from the fact that the Hospital was operating on an evacuation basis.

In line with the battered condition of the buildings at take-over, the carpenters had to construct furniture and fixtures for the various wards and administrative offices. Some prefabricated buildings were erected throughout the hospital area, and works included the complete rebuild of the patients’ kitchen. All emergency sanitary facilities, including latrine boxes, fly traps, urinal troughs, and screening material, had to be constructed. Plumbing was renovated, existing water lines repaired, new ones installed, and new fittings added. Since fire destroyed over 50% of the electrical wiring, a new system had to be installed.
In order to help clean up the different rooms, it was decided to thoroughly clean and repaint both the Medical, Surgical and Mess Departments. In addition to this, new signs were built and painted throughout the premises and the grounds.

A water purification plant was installed behind the buildings and was in operation until the city water lines were finally repaired. An ice plant was set up, but could not meet the demand for a 2,000-bed Hospital. To insure a constant supply of electricity for surgery, an emergency electric plant and generators were maintained at all times. The severe shortage of certain materials seriously handicapped the work of all Sections of the Utilities Department.

Special Services
In order to provide the necessary recreation at the Hospital’s new location, a movie schedule was immediately initiated (movies shown 3 times a week), ward shows were encouraged and stage shows contracted. The 27th Special Service Company presented its “K-Ration Varieties”, the 234th Army Ground Forces Band, and several USO shows provided the necessary entertainment. With the help and cooperation of the American Red Cross Department and the 1542d Engineer Survey Company, a large stage was constructed in a theater with a seating capacity of 2,500. Numerous sports and games were introduced, and a large library maintained with books and popular magazines. A public address and loudspeaker system were installed and plans readied for the building of a large recreation hall. Thirty-one radios were installed in the various wards and departments providing information and entertainment for all. Dances and other parties were organized on a regular basis.

The Information and Education program provided additional opportunity for those men who had been unable to finish school. In addition to the regular “SWPA Newsreels”, Training and Information Films, such as “On To Tokyo”, “Two Down and One to Go”, and “War Comes to America”, were shown to the command and the patients. News sheets such as the “Free Philippines” and the “Daily Pacifican” were distributed daily. The “Philippine Institute for the Armed Forces” was established by Base X, I & E Section, and encouraged and enrolled local students who were given the opportunity to study Psychology, American Literature, Philippine History, Tagalog, Automotive Electricity, Accounting, Business Law, and Public Speaking.

Religious Activities
Protestant services were conducted each Sunday morning in the chapel, starting at 1000, and ward services were held on the closed wards for patients at 1430 hours each Sunday. Bible classes could be attended as well. Captain Mussbaum, Jewish Chaplain, called at the Quezon Institute each week to render services to the Jewish personnel.
During the Second Quarter of 1945, 1 wedding and 16 funerals were performed by the organization’s 3 Protestant Chaplains (they were also responsible for any burial services conducted at the 80th General –ed). Among the three Chaplains assigned to the Hospital were Chaplain George B. King (served 29 April 1945 through 15 June 1945, and Chaplain Fred A. Rinehart (served 10 March 1945 until 25 May 1945).
Since the Hospital did not have a Roman Catholic Chaplain, services were held by one of the Base X Chaplains who held services three times each Sunday and once daily. Up to 3 June 1945, the same Officer ministered for the 227th Station Hospital which was also without a Catholic Chaplain. Daily visits were made to the wards for providing anyone in need of assistance. The Chaplain wrote many letters to the next-of-kin, and gave whatever support or assistance was needed in material and spiritual matters to assure the patients a speedy recovery. Funeral services were performed and letters of condolences written to the nearest kin of the deceased.

Laboratory and Pharmacy
During April 1945, the Laboratory performed 8,940 examinations; this figure jumped to 15,739 in May, and reached over 18,000 in June 1945. The largest number of tests conducted were related to urinalysis, blood counts, malaria smears, and stool examinations. There was also a considerable bacteriological and serological work. During April and May, 30 autopsies were conducted and 64 surgical specimens thoroughly examined.
Complete blood examinations were performed on all personnel of the command on the first and fifth day of each month in an effort to safeguard their health.

View of an M-1934 Pyramidal Tent set up over a bamboo structure,  as in use with the 80th General Hospital.

View of an M-1934 Pyramidal Tent set up over a bamboo structure, as in use with the 80th General Hospital.

At the beginning of its installation, the Pharmacy still occupied temporary quarters of inadequate size. The staff of this Section consisted of 1 Officer, 4 Enlisted Technicians, and 2 civilian Pharmacists. While non-expendable equipment was adequate and available, quite a number of other items could not be obtained, or were available but in insufficient quantities.
In addition to dispensing prepared drugs, the Pharmacy manufactured 119 different compounds. During its stay in Manila, the Pharmacy served 15 different units in addition to their own Hospital. The daily average number of ward prescriptions was 300 during the above period; in addition there were 75 daily prescriptions for individuals, including approximately 50 narcotic prescriptions.

Nursing Service
During the initial installation and take-over of the Quezon Institute, all Nurses, Dietitians, and Physical Therapists assigned to the 80th General Hospital were on Temporary Duty with the 132d General Hospital (APO # 920) and the 24th Field Hospital (APO # 70). The first ANC Officers only reported for duty 12 April 1945, and continued to return to the organization through 26 May 1945.

Before and following the arrival of the first Nurses, the Hospital had functioned maintaining a patient census above 1,800 patients. Operating in a new environment and considering the local circumstances, complete physical examinations including x-rays of the chest were accomplished during the Second Quarter, which concluded that the general physical condition of the female personnel was exceptionally good. During the past three months, 37 female personnel were hospitalized, of whom the largest number were suffering gastro-intestinal upsets. Of these, only 6 were evacuated to the Zone of Interior for further hospitalization and treatment.

The entire female contingent of the 80th was quartered on the third floor west wing of the Hospital, and in a separate apartment building located approximately one block away from Quezon Institute. Remarkable interest was shown by all personnel in their endeavor to make the quarters throughout, as homelike and comfortable as possible.
Physical Therapists performed 4,792 treatments assisting many patients during rehabilitation, thus improving return to duty time and reducing the number of beds kept occupied.
The total number of female personnel, at 30 June 1945, consisted of 109 AN Officers, 4 Dietitians, and 3 Physical Therapists, all assigned to the 80th General. The nursing staff of the command also included some casual Nurses and other ANC personnel assigned to various organizations stationed at the Nurses’ Staging Area, APO # 75, Base X, who were transported to and from the Hospital daily, reaching a total of 152 ANC Officers for duty.

American Red Cross
The ARC people were located in a building formerly utilized as a laundry room during civilian tenure. The initial space was expanded into two, which consequently now took over the complete top floor. The available space was divided into a lounge and a game room. A separate snack bar was located downstairs and became tremendously popular with all the ambulatory patients. An ARC Supply Room was installed in both the east and west wing of the Quezon Institute, operated by members of the Red Cross staff for the benefit of the bed patients.

A Craft Shop was open six hours daily, except on Sundays. Primary crafts included leather and metal work. Scheduled and planned recreation was concentrated on the wards, with parties, shows, and movies on the program. The large newly constructed “Blue Pajama Playhouse” with a large stage and amphitheater became the second of this size on the Base and was soon very popular among personnel and patients.

Left: Front view of Quezon Institute, Manila, Philippine Islands. Right: Aerial view of the buildings pertaining to the Quezon Institute complex, Manila, Philippine Islands.

Left: Front view of Quezon Institute, Manila, Philippine Islands. Right: Aerial view of the buildings pertaining to the Quezon Institute complex, Manila, Philippine Islands.

Medical Service
Upon assuming its present location at APO # 1010, and in the Greater Manila area, the Hospital received approximately 600 medical patients between 3 and 9 April 1945, by formal transfer from the two Hospitals they were to relieve. Out of the 2,000 beds contemplated for the 80th General, 1,185 were assigned to the Medical Service, with an additional 136 beds allotted to N-P cases. Because of current damages and destructions, it was at first necessary to provide 300 beds in ward tents (eventually in use to house the overflow of approximately 90 TBC and convalescent mumps cases from the Isolation Section). Preliminary repairs including such commodities as water, electricity and sanitary facilities lasted over a period of 3 weeks, and although the building was completely reroofed, and the repairs almost completed, 20% of the total capacity of the building housing the Medical Service was still found unsuitable for hospital use! More adequate plumbing, water distribution, sanitary facilities and shower heads were needed.

The Medical Service was well organized and used the following numbers of Officers:

Assigned Duty Officers – Medical Service
General Medicine Section Section > 5 Officers
Gastro-Enterology Section > 1 Officer
Cardio-Vascular Section > 1 Officer
Dermatology Section > 1 Officer
Communicable Disease Section > 1 Officer
Officers Patient Section > 2 Officers
Neuro-Psychiatry Section > 3 Officers
Dispensary + Admission & Disposition Office > 1 Officer
Temporary Duty Officers – Medical Service
General Medicine Section > 5 Officers
Communicable Disease Section > 1 Officer
Neuro-Psychiatry Section > 1 Officer
Dispensary + Admission & Disposition Office > 1 Officer

Four (4) additional General Duty Officers were assigned to replace 1 Medical Officer transferred to another unit, 1 Officer assigned on TD elsewhere, and 2 Officers who were patients in the Hospital and were eventually evacuated to the ZI.
A Medical Library supplying references to general medical subjects and supplemented by several current scientific publications was made available to the Officers of both the Medical and Surgical Services. Moreover, professional conferences were held at regular intervals during which various clinical problems were discussed. A joint Medical and Surgical Conference was also conducted.

During the works some alterations were made in order to convert a portion of one of the buildings into a suitable closed ward section for treatment of psychotic patients. Such cases were normally rapidly evacuated by air to other Bases, with their stay averaging about two days. Treatment at the 80th was limited to supportive measures and general care. This special ward had a capacity of 75 beds, all usually filled. About 25 Filipino soldiers with chronic psychosis were being carried on the ward, some for many weeks, as there was apparently no way to dispose of them somewhere else. An open ward section for Neuro-Psychiatric patients was maintained in another part of the Hospital. Although individual and group therapy were used with fair results, many patients had to be evacuated to another Base for rehabilitation and or reassignment.
The Officer staff of this Section varied but there were always sufficient trained men to carry the load effectively. Nursing and Enlisted personnel were efficient and well trained. During the current Quarter a special training was in effect for 12 Enlisted Men pertaining to the 314th General Hospital on TD for closed ward experience. 

Map illustrating the different Bases in the Philippine Islands, with Headquarters and Base X combined in Manila, the capital city.

Map illustrating the different Bases in the Philippine Islands, with Headquarters and Base X combined in Manila, the capital city.

Surgical Service
Following its arrival in Manila, 26 March 1945, several Officers from the Surgical Service were sent on TD to supplement the surgical staff of the 227th Station Hospital which was occupying the west wing of the Quezon Institute. On 3 April the 54th Evacuation Hospital which also occupied part of the same west wing was moving out and the 80th General was ordered to take care of its remaining patients. The same date, the organization inherited 175 patients and a total of 256 beds. Cases requiring surgery were taken to the 227th Station Hospital while a temporary OR was being set up in one of the large double wards of the west wing. On 9 April 1945, the 227th Sta Hosp was ordered out, and the entire Quezon complex put under the command of the 80th. To cope with the number of remaining patients, the available surgical beds were increased to 872, while the census reached 758 patients.
During the American drive on Mount Montalba, some 18 miles northeast of Manila City, approximately 80 casualties were admitted in just a four-hour period on 17 April 1945, which brought the surgical service to its peak census of 961. Extra ward tents were used to expand the total bed capacity to 1,046.

These were trying days since several of the organization’s Officers, including the Chief of Surgery Service and the Chief of the Orthopedic Section were still serving on Temporary Duty elsewhere; moreover, many essential supplies were still aboard ship in the harbor, and all surgical instruments including semi-permanent autoclaves, water sterilizers, steam generators, instrument sterilizers had to be set up; in addition, beds, mattresses, linen, dressing carts, drugs and other basic items were being unloaded. In spite of the confusion, the fundamental needs of the patients were met.

The daily average number of patients was 738 with an average of 845 beds occupied. Many patients were received in April and early May from the battlefield, but on 15 May 1945, a certain decline was noted and a larger number of sick and wounded were coming in as transfers from smaller forward units. The lowest patient census was recorded on 30 May 1945 with a total of only 595, but this figure gradually increased so that in June the average was more around 700. The average hospital days for surgical cases in May was 18 for duty cases and 21 for evacuees.

The General Surgery Section, including Clean, Septic, Thoracic and Neuro-Surgery, comprised 45% of the bed capacity. There was an “acute” ward of 26 beds adjacent to the X-Ray Department and one of the Operating Rooms for the seriously ill requiring constant surveillance. Concentration of these cases did not only facilitate nursing in general but also reduced the number of special Nurses required. Burns were treated in any one of the OR as “clean” cases and were kept on one specific ward under the care of one Medical Officer.
The Orthopedic Section occupied 20% of the surgical beds. Worthy to mention was the work done in the Plaster Room, where 340 casts were applied during the Second Quarter of 1945, and where all dressings for the Surgical Section were handled. All plaster casts needed to be hand rolled, as the commercial products were largely unsatisfactory (this was the Plaster-of-Paris issue –ed) because of lumping or sifting.
The Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Section received and treated 3,500 patients in consultations, carried out 1,845 refractions, and ordered 1,034 pairs of spectacles in addition to their routine ward and operative procedures.
The Anesthesia and Operating Section maintained 4 Operating Rooms temporarily set up in a large double ward (still to be renovated). Although supplies and equipment were difficult to secure at first, the very first operation was performed on 6 April 1945, only three days after moving into the new premises. By end of June, the total number of surgical operations had reached 1,572. Early July 1945, the Operating Section was being moved to new quarters where 5 separate Operating Rooms were to become available, including many extra facilities.
The Surgical Service performed 226 Whole Blood Transfusions, 279 Plasma Transfusions, and treated 2,271 patients with Penicillin.
A total of 6,325 consultations took place between April – June 1945.

General aerial view of docking facilities and ships at Base X, Manila area, Philippine Islands, 17 September 1945.

General aerial view of docking facilities and ships at Base X, Manila area, Philippine Islands, 17 September 1945.

Fortunately very few EM trained in New Guinea and assigned to the Surgical Service were lost. Some of them came to the Philippine Islands during the early invasion period, having been attached to smaller medical units, and thus secured valuable training in the care of casualties. This was also the case with many Nurses who had equally trained with some of the advanced units between January and April 1945, and were able to use their newly acquired skills to great advantage at the Quezon Institute. This allowed the Medical and Surgical Officers to care for a greater number of patients than would have been otherwise possible.
One of the greatest problems encountered was the efficient training of Filipino civilians to perform their tasks in wards and clinics satisfactorily and instill in them that cleanliness, hygiene, and regulations were important. This caused a great turnover of civilian employees and laborers. Language difficulties often made the task even more complex (many of the civilian labor force only spoke Tagalog –ed).

All types of cases were treated at the Surgical Service, including US Army and Navy patients, Australian Army and Navy personnel, Philippine Scouts, local Guerrillas, Merchant Mariners, Civilians, Allied Internees and ARC members.

X-Ray Service
With the opening of the 80th General Hospital, the X-Ray Department set up in a temporary location pending the repair of the rooms destined for x-ray work. Unfortunately, adverse conditions of lighting, space, and ventilation affected working. Due to the high increase in the volume of patients, the personnel was forced to install 2 additional X-Ray machines. Since lead could not be obtained in Base X, tin screens had to be constructed by the carpenters. Due to electricity problems, a portable 50 KW generator was installed, nevertheless, frequent break-downs and the almost constant surge of the current, rendered the task of the X-Ray Department very difficult. Because of this situation, frequent retakes had to be made, resulting in an unnecessary waste of film and time. Numerous requests were submitted to obtain heavy-duty equipment (the available standard Picker field units proved unsatisfactory –ed) but these were not available on the Base. Finally, through the generosity of General Basilio Valdez, Chief of Staff, Philippine Army, and Dr. Miguel Canizares, former Medical Director, Quezon Institute (following the liberation, medical advisor to the Philippine President S. Osmeña –ed), the organization was given a 500-milliampere General Electric machine which had been salvaged during the Japanese occupation.

The T/O applying to the organization authorized an EM strength of 8 Technicians 5th Grade and 8 Technicians 4th Grade for the Department. After six weeks, the X-Ray staff consisted of 2 X-Ray Technicians, 1 Stenographer, 2 Clerk-Typists, 1 Typist-File Clerk, and 1 janitor (the latter obtained through the Civilian Affairs Officer). Requisitions were pending in order to obtain the authorized personnel.

In total, the Department examined on the average, 1,250 patients per month, with each patient requiring approximately 3 roentgenograms. The daily fluoroscopic examinations consisted of 4 gastro-intestinal studies and 2 barium enema examinations.

Left: Civilian internees, former captives of the Japanese, receive the necessary treatment and care at one of the Hospitals set up in Manila, prior to evacuation to the ZI. Right: US Army Nurses recently liberated from Japanese captivity, board a plane that will return them to the United States.

Left: Civilian internees, former captives of the Japanese, receive the necessary treatment and care at one of the Hospitals set up in Manila, prior to evacuation to the ZI. Right: US Army Nurses recently liberated from Japanese captivity, board a plane that will return them to the United States.

During the Second Quarter the Hospital’s Motor Pool operated a total distance of 80,000 miles. Hauling large numbers of bamboo from the vicinity of Tarlac to the Hospital area constituted the major task while works and repairs were ongoing. This work started on 22 April 1945 and was still in progress by the end of June. The Motor Pool received third and heavy maintenance service from the 189th Ordnance Battalion, which operated as the Base X Ordnance Inspection Section.
The following personnel was assigned to the 80th General Hospital Motor Pool; 1 Motor Officer, 1 Motor Sergeant, 1 Assistant Motor Sergeant, 1 Dispatcher, 2 Motor Mechanics, and 26 Drivers.
Quite a number of vehicles were on hand, including:

Vehicles In Use – 80th General Hospital
¼-ton 4 x 4 Truck > 6 Vehicles
¾-ton 4 x 4 Weapons Carrier > 2 Vehicles
¾-ton 4 x 4 Ambulance > 3 Vehicles
2 ½-ton 6 x 6 Cargo Truck > 6 Vehicles
2 ½-ton 6 x 6 Dump Truck > 2 Vehicles

It should be noted that the 80th General still had 7 vehicles available with the rear echelon, at Milne Bay, New Guinea; they were urgently needed at APO # 1010, to solve the serious transportation problems in Manila.

Patient Census – 80th General Hospital
April 1945 > 4,350 Patients
May 1945 > 3,784 Patients
June 1945 > 3,254 Patients

Battle Casualties – 80th General Hospital
April 1945 > 531 Patients
May 1945 > 299 Patients
June 1945 > 223 Patients

Battle Casualties – Types of Wounds – 80th General Hospital
Period April 1945 – June 1945
Head Wounds > 137
Neck Wounds > 41
Face Wounds > 95
Spinal Cord Wounds > 14
Thorax Wounds > 148
Abdomen Wounds > 49
Upper Extremity Wounds > 245
Lower Extremity Wounds > 230
Genitalia Wounds > 2
Multiple Wounds > 1
Peripheral Nerve Injuries > 21
Vertrebrae Injuries > 33

Left: Japanese Prisoners of War are being regrouped in Manila, prior to being moved to a PW enclosure. Right: Japanese PWs are being fed at Prison Camp No. 1, on Luzon, Philippine Islands, April 1945.

Left: Japanese Prisoners of War are being regrouped in Manila, prior to being moved to a PW enclosure. Right: Japanese PWs are being fed at Prison Camp No. 1, on Luzon, Philippine Islands, April 1945.

Enemy Prisoners
Until the invasion and liberation of the Philippines, Army Medical Officers had no real contacts with Japanese PWs. This was partly because such prisoners were never taken in large numbers and partly because they were at that time the chief responsibility of the Royal Australian Army Medical Department.
As their number gradually increased, large camps were set up on Leyte, Luzon, and some smaller islands of the Visayan Group. US Medical Officers were then detailed to these camps for inspection.
In Manila, the 174th Station Hospital took over the medical facilities at New Bilibid Prison from the 21st Evacuation Hospital on 2 June 1945. Since the Luzon Prison Camp No. 1 at Canlubang (5 miles away from New Bilibid –ed), also held quite a number of enemy prisoners, the 174th General had to be augmented with personnel from the 136th General Hospital and the facility enlarged. Between 2 June 1945 and 31 October 1945, some 10,684 PWs were admitted for treatment at New Bilibid Hospital (peak census was reached in October 1945 with 5,672 patients –ed). The majority of the cases were predominantly Japanese, with a small proportion of Formosans and Koreans. During this period alone, over 56,000 PWs and other internees were confined in 11 compounds at Canlubang, suffering chiefly from skin diseases, malaria, beriberi, and malnutrition.
To overcome shortages in personnel, Japanese Medical Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Aidmen were pressed into service as rapidly as possible, and during peak periods, 117 Japanese Medical and Dental Officers were utilized in both PW enclosures.

End of Campaign
As from 1 July 1945, the Eighth United States Army was given responsibility for all tactical forces in the entire Philippine Archipelago, taking over Luzon from the Sixth US Army. With the end of the Luzon campaign, the Sixth US Army Surgeon (Brigadier General William A. Hagins, MC –ed) was free to begin training and equipping medical units in preparation for Operation “Olympic”, the expected invasion of Japan.

During summer of 1945, the ruined Philippine Capital, would emerge as the prime source of supply, repair, and maintenance for all military equipment to sustain the Forces in the region and prepare the coming invasion of the Japanese Islands. After its liberation, the city of Manila lacked water supply, sewage disposal, food, electricity, transportation, and communications, requiring an immense effort in reconstruction and renovation. At the end of the Philippines Campaign there were approximately 2,000 non-military patients in US Army Hospitals in the Great Manila area. They mostly consisted of Filipinos, civilians and veterans of the early Philippine Army and Scouts and guerrillas; and other nationals, diplomats, internees, and civilians, half of whom were medical cases.

Following the sudden Japanese capitulation, Sixth US Army Headquarters moved to Kyoto, Japan, where it started duties typical of a medical staff office with an Army of Occupation. Early in 1946, Eighth US Army took over the entire task of occupation, while the medical organization was run by the Army’s Surgeon, Brigadier General George W. Rice, MC (initially appointed September 1944).

Portrait of Brigadier General George W. Rice, Eighth United States Army Surgeon (appointed September 1944). In August 1945, he arranged after conferring with Officers at General Headquarters and Headquarters US Army Forces, Western Pacific (USAFWESPAC), for Hospital Ships, medical supplies and equipment, to be made available for evacuating Allied PWs and civilian internees from Japan.

Portrait of Brigadier General George W. Rice, Eighth United States Army Surgeon (appointed September 1944). In August 1945, he arranged after conferring with Officers at General Headquarters and Headquarters US Army Forces, Western Pacific (USAFWESPAC), for Hospital Ships, medical supplies and equipment, to be made available for evacuating Allied PWs and civilian internees from Japan.

The MRC Staff are still looking for a complete Personnel Roster, and miss the 80th General Hospital‘s operations during the First Quarter of 1945, as well the organization final stages of its service in the Philippines. Furthermore, they still require information relating to the Hospital’s return to the Zone Interior, or its possible transfer to Japan, as part of the US Occupation Forces. Any information on the above is very much appreciated.

This page was printed from the WW2 US Medical Research Centre on 16th June 2024 at 21:30.
Read more: https://www.med-dept.com/unit-histories/80th-general-hospital/